Maturity – one couldn’t be more ambiguous when referring to major and successful corporations, because success today invariably means a decline in willingness to change tomorrow. Weak innovation initiatives are the cause and outcome of future failures. Out of the blue, innovators surprise, marginalize, or even oust successful firms.
As Schumpeter postulated, innovation in processes, products, and business models is always intertwined with creative destruction. Innovation thrives on risk. Undoubtedly, much talk abounds on innovation and change. Yet, when it is crucial to transform ideas and concepts into innovation, many reasons emerge to trample down their feasibility and potential. As always, everyone, especially a corporation, finds it hard to leave the comfort zone.
Many industries resist this phenomenon. Year-on-year, they undertake incremental, clearly defined evolution processes to achieve marginal advances in products and buying impulses. Yet, the fight for 5% less consumption or 2% more content quickly shifts one’s sight away from the essential fact: a real lead comes from only fundamental change – because hiding behind standard stuff means that followers will not be far behind.
Companies need opportunity intelligence if they want to change and leave the competition biting the dust. This is defined as the readiness to apply external knowledge and recognize one’s capabilities, underscored by a good overview of the market and possibilities, and above all the guts to radically alter the perspective.
The culture and enthusiasm for “repeatedly reinventing oneself“ is the only reliable companion that empowers one to keep setting new trends and playing with the leaders: globally, in the heads of customers, and on one’s own turf.